Data science skills a focus of Tableau Conference 2021 – TechTarget

As Tableau Conference 2021 nears, data science is the next self-service frontier for the eponymous analytics vendor.

In the past, Tableau, founded in 2003 and based in Seattle, focused on enabling self-service analytics with visual exploration and data preparation.

Now, the vendor turns to what it terms business science, which it describes as the use of augmented intelligence and machine learning to enable ordinary business users with data science skills.

It first introduced the concept in March 2021 when it unveiled its first integration with Salesforce’s Einstein Analytics and made Einstein Discovery — a no-code tool within Einstein Analytics that uses AI and ML to produce predictive modeling and prescriptive recommendations — part of Tableau.

At Tableau Conference 2021, which begins Nov. 9 and will be held virtually for the second straight year, the vendor will introduce new business science capabilities, according to Francois Ajenstat, Tableau’s chief product officer.

Beyond the capabilities of its platform, however, it’s been a year of change for Tableau since it last held its user conference.

Last March, Adam Selipsky, who became Tableau’s CEO in 2016 and led the vendor through its acquisition by Salesforce in June 2019, left to become CEO of AWS. Mark Nelson was named his successor, and will be out front at Tableau Conference 2021.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued. At the time of its last user conference a year ago, Tableau was trying to help many of its customers simply survive. No vaccine was yet available, travel restrictions were in place, and many industries were struggling.

The value of data, however, was being recognized as a way for organizations to navigate the pandemic.

Now, data is recognized as an indispensable asset, and Tableau finds itself trying to help customers make sense of exponentially growing amounts of data and turn it into actionable insights that enable them to navigate their ways through what remain challenging economic conditions.

With Tableau Conference 2021 fast approaching, Ajenstat recently discussed what the vendor plans to reveal during the conference, its guiding principle for product development, trends affecting the vendor’s development pipeline, and its roadmap into 2022.

In addition, he spoke about the change in Tableau’s leadership, and gave an update on the vendor’s integration with Salesforce now that it’s been about two years since the CRM giant closed on its acquisition of Tableau.

When we talked before Tableau Conference last year, it was a little more than six months into the pandemic, and much of the talk around analytics at the time was how it could help organizations survive. As you get ready for Tableau Conference 2021, how are your conversations with customers different than they were a year ago?

Francois Ajenstat

Francois Ajenstat: It’s been pretty amazing.

The data industry has become the core of the future economy as the amount of digital transformation that’s occurred over these last two years has created a deluge of data that people are trying to make sense of. And if you think about what has happened — everyone has gone digital, we all now work from anywhere, and the need for speed and agility have risen to the surface for every part of the technology industry — those things have played quite well with Tableau. So when I have customer conversations, [they’re about] accelerating their transition from traditional to modern — accelerating their move to the cloud — and customers are thinking about what they need for growth in the future. They know that …….


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